Christine Leas advises clients on a broad array of transactional, as well as regulatory compliance and permitting issues, with a particular focus on complex brownfield and contaminated site redevelopment projects. She also has extensive experience negotiating manuscript environmental insurance policies and resolving coverage disputes.  Christine obtained her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, and is admitted to practice in New York, California and Connecticut.  She is recognized as a leading environmental practitioner by Who’s Who Legal and New York Super Lawyers.

During the past several years, Christine has worked on many aspects of brownfield redevelopment of properties under the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program, Superfund sites (CERCLA and its state counterpart) and petroleum spill sites subject to the New York Navigation Law, as well as compliance with New York City E zoning designation requirements for hazardous materials, air quality and noise attenuation. Christine counsels developer clients on environmental due diligence, structuring and negotiating property sale and financing transactions, environmental consulting and remediation service procurement and oversight, environmental insurance and regulatory compliance.  She has worked with corporate, municipal and financial institution clients on environmental aspects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

Early in her career, Christine worked with the Natural Heritage Institute on San Francisco Bay-Delta and Central Valley water quality-quantity interface issues and international environmental refugee issues. She also counseled NRG Energy on environmental aspects of its acquisition of privatized former East German coal mining and power generation assets from Germany (Treuhandanstalt). Before joining Sive, Paget & Riesel, Christine was a member of the Environmental Practice Group of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae in Hartford, CT.

Results
  • Due diligence and environmental acquisition counsel on dozens of individual projects and portfolio acquisitions within the New York region and nationally for clients including: private equity investors, institutional lenders, turn-key developer of distribution facilities, shopping center and self-storage facility operators
  • Environmental counsel for many mixed use residential and commercial projects on brownfield locations
  • Environmental counsel to family-owned businesses with environmental legacy liability obligations
  • Led several insurance claim recoveries under environmental policies and for legacy environmental liabilities under general liability policies dating back to the early 1900s
  • Permitting counsel and enforcement defense against asserted violations of coastal zone and freshwater wetland regulations
Clients
  • Queens West Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation (in connection with its Long Island City project)
  • Spitzer Enterprises
  • Rubenstein Partners
  • SunCap Property Group
  • Extell Development Company
  • Related Companies
  • Georgetown Companies in connection with its development of the new Frank Gehry designed corporate headquarters for IAC/InterActiveCorp)
  • Several school site projects: Christine has represented the Lycée Français de New York, Roosevelt Union Free School District on Long Island and The Robin Hood Foundation on several charter school projects in New York City
Presentations
  • Practicing Law Institute – Commercial Real Estate Financing:  Environmental Law for Lenders and their Lawyers
  • Ekos Brazil, SustRem conference in São Paulo, Brazil:   Complex Cases Management Strategy & Financing Mechanisms – The U.S. Experience
  • Montclair State University, Center for Professional Education Services – Remediation of Emerging Contaminants:  New York Regulatory Update
  • New York State Bar Association, Environment and Energy Law Section:  Waterfront Permitting; New York State Brownfield Program – Recent Regulatory Developments
  • New York City Department of Transportation: Management of Urban Soils at Construction Sites
  • American Bar Association Section of Business Law:  Environmental Insurance
  • Continuing legal education (Law Seminars):  Brownfields Incentives
  • Continuing education course for professional engineers and surveyors (Half Moon):  New York and Federal Site Contamination Law
Affiliations
  • Admitted to practice in New York, California and Connecticut, and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • New York State Bar Association, Environment and Energy Law Section, Diversity Committee Co-Chair